Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! My mom rocks, and she knows it. For the rest of you: 20-something years ago, my little 5-foot-nothing, half-Korean mom gave birth to me, an 8lb 10 oz girl, two weeks late, vaginally, with no drugs. That in itself deserves an award. However, she proceeded to breastfeed and cloth diaper me, and both of my parents sacrificed so mom could stay home with me most of the time. Thanks go to my mom for this, as well as instilling in me a wonder about the world, a love of reading, a penchant for spicy food, and a good dose of backbone. Mom, if you read this, I think these things probably make up for the bad knee, asian flush, and my general packrat tendencies.

Some favorite mom memories:
  • Once, I was blowing bubbles with gum, and asked my mom how it worked. Mom responded, "How do you think it works?" I think you probably anticipated all the "how"s and "why"s and taking apart and putting together of household objects an appliances that would follow, but you asked it anyway. Thank you (and you're welcome for putting together the lawnmower).
  • In an attempt to keep me, at about 3 or 4 years old, occupied, my parents asked me to write down all the words I knew. Being a very literal child, I included all the swear words I knew. You wouldn't be wrong to guess that my mom was more than a little upset. However, that was my first lesson in considering the context in addition to the imperative.
  • Us riding in grandpa's Caddy to go get my childhood immunizations. Remember grandpa's promise of ice cream if I didn't cry? I still count train cars as they pass by.
  • I had a bottle of bubbles and bubble wand, and wanted to play inside. Mom strictly forbade me to blow bubbles in the kitchen. I did it anyway while you were out of the room, and the soapy slickness on the linoleum floor caused me to fall and hit my head on the cabinet. I sat there on the floor for a minute, weighing the conflict of being hurt and wanting my mom versus the trouble I was about to be in. I realized then that 1) Mom was right sometimes and 2) there might be reasons, on occasion, why I shouldn't do things.
  • In middle school, I had that awful math teacher who gave us tons of homework and never graded any of it. Mom marched right into the principal's office, showed him the half-foot stack of ungraded papers, and promptly had me switched to another teacher. If she hadn't, I might not understand any math beyond that level, because that teacher was that terrible. And you know how I love the math.
  • Okay, I don't actually remember this, but it's funny. The cloth-diapering thing? I was fairly observant. Once, my parents had me all dressed up to go who knows where, complete with ruffly white bonnet on my noggin. They were ready to go, and realized they couldn't find my toddling self. They discovered me dunking said bonnet up and down in the toilet, where I proclaimed, "I'm cleaning it, Mommy!" Because that's how you empty cloth diapers.

    True confessions for Mother's Day, both related to bodily functions:
  • Remember when the awful first grade teacher called and said I had "had an accident on the playground?" Uh, it was actually that she forbade us to go to the bathroom without permission, and also refused to let me interrupt the remedial reading group to ask for permission. Somewhere in the conflict, I "had an accident on the playground."
  • The first time I went away to camp, I actually passed out on the concrete cafeteria floor on the first afternoon. I don't think they called to tell you. I think it was the heat and the running around and the hunger. I regained consciousness thinking I had been asleep in bed at home, and proceeded through the line to get my camp-issued mush and jello. I never told you about it so that you would let me go to camp in subsequent years, which you did.

    Love you, Mom!
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